Set Up Apache to Run Multiple WordPress Sites on a Single Linode

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Set Up Apache to Run Multiple WordPress Sites on a Single Linode

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a popular, dynamic, content management system that makes it easy to build anything from blogs to complete websites and online stores. This guide shows you how to configure your system to run multiple WordPress sites on a single Linode running Ubuntu 18.04.

Before You Begin

  1. Familiarize yourself with our Getting Started guide and complete the steps for setting your Linode’s hostname and timezone.

  2. This guide will use sudo wherever possible. Complete the sections of our Securing Your Server guide to create a standard user account, harden SSH access and remove unnecessary network services.

  3. If you have not already, assign Linode’s name servers to your domain at your domain name’s registrar.

  4. Update your system:

    apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
    

Install a LAMP Stack

WordPress can be deployed on a LAMP stack. A LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack is a common, free, and open source web stack used for hosting web content in a Linux environment.

Install the LAMP stack using the Tasksel tool:

sudo tasksel install lamp-server

Create Your Site Databases and Users

You will need a MySQL database for each instance of WordPress you intend to run. An example of a two-WordPress setup is shown below. Replace example1 and example2 with your respective website names.

Domain Database Username Password
example1.com example1_wordpress example1_wpuser password1
example2.com example2_wordpress example2_wpuser password2
  1. Log in to the MySQL command line as the root user:

    sudo mysql -u root
    
  2. Create the WordPress databases:

    CREATE DATABASE example1_wordpress;
    CREATE DATABASE example2_wordpress;
    
  3. Create the database users, replacing example1_wpuser and password with a username and password of your own:

    CREATE USER 'example1_wpuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password1';
    CREATE USER 'example2_wpuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password2';
    
  4. Grant the users privileges for their respective database:

    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON example1_wordpress.* TO 'example1_wpuser';
    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON example1_wordpress.* TO 'example2_wpuser';
    
  5. Exit MySQL:

    quit
    

Install Multiple WordPress Instances

  1. Create the directories that will host your websites and WordPress source files. In this guide, the home directories /var/www/html/example1.com/ and /var/www/html/example2.com/ are used as examples.

    sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/{example1.com,example2.com}/public_html
    
  2. Create a src directory to hold the WordPress tarball and files:

    sudo mkdir /var/www/html/src/
    
  3. Download and extract the latest version of WordPress to the src folder:

    cd /var/www/html/src/
    sudo wget http://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz
    
  4. Extract the tarball. To store a backup of the original source files, rename latest.tar.gz to wordpress followed by the date. This will be useful if you install new versions in the future and need to revert back to a previous release.

    sudo tar -zxvf latest.tar.gz
    sudo mv latest.tar.gz wordpress-`date "+%Y-%m-%d"`.tar.gz
    
  5. Copy the WordPress files to your site’s public_html folders:

    sudo cp -R /var/www/html/src/wordpress/* /var/www/html/example1.com/public_html/
    sudo cp -R /var/www/html/src/wordpress/* /var/www/html/example2.com/public_html/
    
  6. Give Apache ownership of your WordPress sites’ home directories:

    sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/{example1.com,example2.com}/
    

Configure Apache Virtual Hosts

In this section, you will configure the Apache virtual hosts file so that a visitor to example1.com will be served the content in /var/www/html/example1.com/public_html and the MySQL database example1_wordpress. Visitors to example2.com will be served content in /var/www/html/example2.com/public_html/ and its corresponding MySQL database.

  1. Create a virtual hosts configuration file for example1.com and add the example virtual host block into /etc/apache2/sites-available/example1.com. Be sure to replace all instances of example1.com with your own domain.

    /etc/apache2/sites-available/example1.conf
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    <VirtualHost *:80>
        # The primary domain for this host
        ServerName example1.com
        # Optionally have other subdomains also managed by this Virtual Host
        ServerAlias example1.com *.example1.com
        DocumentRoot /var/www/html/example1.com/public_html
        <Directory /var/www/html/example1.com/public_html>
            Require all granted
            # Allow local .htaccess to override Apache configuration settings
            AllowOverride all
        </Directory>
        # Enable RewriteEngine
        RewriteEngine on
        RewriteOptions inherit
    
        # Block .svn, .git
        RewriteRule \.(svn|git)(/)?$ - [F]
    
        # Catchall redirect to www.example1.com
        RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}   !^www.example1\.com [NC]
        RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}   !^$
        RewriteRule ^/(.*)         https://www.example1.com/$1 [L,R]
    
        # Recommended: XSS protection
        <IfModule mod_headers.c>
            Header set X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block"
            Header always append X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN
        </IfModule>
    </VirtualHost>
    
        
  2. Enable the site. This will create a symlink to the example1.com Apache conf file in /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/:

    sudo a2ensite example1.conf
    
  3. Create a virtual hosts configuration file for your second WordPress site, example2.com. Be sure to replace all instances of example2.com with your own domain.

    /etc/apache2/sites-available/example2.conf
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    <VirtualHost *:80>
      # The primary domain for this host
      ServerName example2.com
      # Optionally have other subdomains also managed by this Virtual Host
      ServerAlias example2.com *.example2.com
      DocumentRoot /var/www/html/example2.com/public_html
      <Directory /var/www/html/example2.com/public_html>
          Require all granted
          # Allow local .htaccess to override Apache configuration settings
          AllowOverride all
      </Directory>
      # Enable RewriteEngine
      RewriteEngine on
      RewriteOptions inherit
    
      # Block .svn, .git
      RewriteRule \.(svn|git)(/)?$ - [F]
    
      # Catchall redirect to www.example2.com
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}   !^www.example2\.com [NC]
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}   !^$
      RewriteRule ^/(.*)         https://www.example2.com/$1 [L,R]
    
      # Recommended: XSS protection
      <IfModule mod_headers.c>
          Header set X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block"
          Header always append X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN
      </IfModule>
    </VirtualHost>
        
  4. Enable the site:

    sudo a2ensite example2.conf
    

    You can repeat Steps 1 and 2 for each WordPress site that you want to host on your Linode.

  5. If the rewrite_module module is not enabled, you will need to enable it before reloading Apache to have your configurations take effect. To check which Apache modules are enabled, run the following command:

    sudo apache2ctl -M
    

    Verify that you see rewrite_module in the list. If you do not see the module, enable it with the following command:

    sudo a2enmod rewrite
    
  6. For the new configurations to take effect, reload Apache:

    sudo systemctl reload apache2
    

Configure WordPress

Follow the Configure WordPress section of our Install WordPress on Ubuntu 18.04 guide.

If you do not yet have registered domains to use, you can still perform the WordPress installation using your Linode’s IP address. For example:

  1. Verify your WordPress installation by using your Linode’s IP address to load the WordPress installations in your browser:

    http://203.0.113.15/example1.com/public_html
    http://203.0.113.15/example2.com/public_html
    

    You should see WordPress’ set up page:

    WordPress setup-config.php

  2. You can begin configuring your WordPress sites. Follow the Configure WordPress section of our Install WordPress on Ubuntu 18.04 guide.

  3. If you have not yet added DNS records for your Domains, follow the Add DNS Records steps in the Host a Website on Ubuntu 18.04 guide.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

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This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.